Tech & Telecom news — Nov 24, 2017


Shift to mobile e-commerce is driving a change in the American tradition of “Black Friday” shopping after Thanksgiving Day, with lots of sales now starting by Thursday. Better mobile e-commerce sites and easier one-click payments are helping push the trend. Mobile traffic was growing +15% yoy yesterday at 5pm (Story)



In this (very nice) interview with Business Week, the HBO CEO justifies their streaming app as a way to address a growing market of US broadband-only homes (20m now, only 5m in 2013), and claims it doesn’t cannibalise the traditional PayTV channel. Also, he views the increasing competition as “not a zero-sum game” (Story)


Disastrous 3Q17 results presentation for the (used-to-be) leading game developer Rovio, the company behind the Angry Birds franchise, which lost -20% market cap yesterday, after they announced a strong increase in user acquisition costs (4x vs. last year) and lower than expected revenues, pushing EBITDA down -29% (Story)


Cloud providers are in a race to offer better AI features to developers and companies which increasingly rely on this technology to build applications. Google Cloud is leading in this, but AWS has started to react and is now offering its “ML Solutions Lab”, a consulting program to help clients use Machine Learning (Story)

Google has announced a new Google Cloud Platform region in Hong Kong, in what some see a gateway to offer services in China (where AWS and Microsoft already are, but pressured by local regulations). Google claims this is just about serving the local Hong Kong market with high performance and low latency (Story)


Regulators (and cautious investors) increasingly worried by the apparent bubble growing with ICOs, a way for startups to raise funds by selling blockchain tokens, usually linked to their underlying platforms. There have already been 211 ICOs this year, raising a total of $3.5bn, and even TV celebrities are now supporting this (Story)


Artificial Intelligence

Banking, together with health, is becoming a key use case where AI technologies can create value. E.g. Swiss bank UBS says it’s expanding its workforce with AI specialists, including “data scientists, architects, business analysts”. UBS is working to apply AI to investment advice, fraud prevention and risk management (Story)

Lots of activity in China to build new startups addressing the “huge” opportunity to apply Artificial Intelligence to business processes. Some even see a potential to create “the Tencent / Alibaba / Baidu of the enterprise market”. In just 5 months this year, 175 AI-related Chinese startups have received $2.3bn in venture capital (Story)


The massive data-breach discovered at Uber, which the company’s management had apparently tried to hide, is finally triggering a reaction from European privacy regulators, which could create a task-force next week to coordinate the investigation. This could possibly lead to sanctions by national privacy authorities (Story)


Most reports link the US Justice Dept action against the proposed AT&T — Time Warner merger to political moves driven by Trump. However, this (nice!) analysis from the New Yorker shows that (contrary to companies’ claims) there are actually plenty of precedents of antitrust actions against these “vertical mergers” (Story)

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